Center for Global Experiences



Your Faculty Leaders will have country-specific orientation sessions with you, however, before you go abroad, learn as much as the country and city where you are going.  Find out about weather, food, customs, traditions, similarities, and differences. Try to learn greetings and other phrases in the native language. Check the weather patterns, so you will know what to pack. Expect the weather to be significantly different from Cookeville.

Read about world news online, particularly news about your host country. Politics are often a topic of conversation in most countries, and you will want to be prepared to participate. Likewise, it is important that you are equally as informed about your home country. Be sure to know the basics of US government, particularly as it relates to your host country.


Communication with your Faculty Leaders and fellow students is extremely important.  As part of the TN Tech plan to keep you safe while you're abroad it's vital - but just as important is your communication habits.  Pay attention to your surroundings and adjust your voice accordingly.  Some trains have sections where the passengers are not allowed to talk at all. Also, there are many other instances where you should keep your voice down or stay quiet such as cathedrals, museums, hotels and company visits/tours.


Airport Tips:


Planning ahead:

  • Contacts- Keep important addresses and contact information with you at all times (the Center for Global Experiences will give you an Emergency Wallet Card). You also need to have the contact info of your Faculty Leaders with you at all times.
  • Make a plan for accessing money- It is recommended to take at least 2 cards with you, one main debit card and one backup card in case your main card gets lost or compromised.  
  • Let your loved ones know you are safe- Make a plan to contact those important to you back home to let them know you've arrived safely.  You may have to help your family download apps and practice using them at home before you leave.


Using a smartphone abroad is becoming increasingly easier, but there are some important things to consider:

  • Contact your service provider to see if they have an international plan you can opt into for the duration of your program.
  • If you do not have an international data plan, turn off Data Roaming on your smart phone before traveling or put your phone in Airplane Mode.  Otherwise, your data may run in the background while you are abroad and you may come home with a huge cell phone bill.

Research some international plans or options. Here's a Travelers guide to using a smartphone abroad.  

Be mindful!

Remember that you are visiting a different part of the world for a reason. Be mindful of how much time you spend on technology, ignoring the very purpose of your travel. It can be difficult to avoid feeling the pressure to capture every moment and share every discovery, but you'll improve your experience by being present.

Put down your phone! 

Here's a few tips on being mindful about your technology use
  • Blog! Writing a journal in a blog can help you reflect on your experiences and share things with many people at once.
  • Take time away from your phone. Give yourself a break from distraction to enjoy everything that is new. Who cares how many "likes" you get on Instagram when you are seeing, smelling, tasting and experiencing new things every day?
  • While there will likely be more opportunities to discover the world in your future, remember that they can be rare, so be sure to treat that opportunity with the respect it deserves.
  • Practice ethical photography! Consider your intentions with regard to gaining consent from those you photograph and especially when you might be posting to social media. Note that in many countries, photographing government or military buildings and personnel is illegal. Err on the side of caution and ask before taking photos. 


Even though it always seems easy, there are a lot of factors you need to take into consideration when packing for study abroad. There’s way more to this than meets the eye, so we’re breaking down what exactly to pack for study abroad, plus all of the miscellaneous things to take into account when you’re making your own study abroad packing list.

Please read this article on What to Pack for Study Abroad-A Study Abroad Packing List

Just as important as what you pack for your study abroad trip is how you pack it into your carry-on and checked luggage.  Please watch this video on 12 Travel Packing Tips.

Things not to pack:

  1. Large Personal Hygiene Products- Take 3 oz. bottles in your carry-on in case of travel delays, however, you can buy larger bottles of equivalent things after you arrive.
  2. Hair Dryer/Straight iron/Curling iron- For the people going where the voltage is different, do not even think about taking these items. Even with the voltage converter, these things will fry.  Just buy them once you get there.
  3. Irreplaceable Valuables- Do not take the necklace that has been in your family for generations. If you won’t be able to move on with life if it gets lost or stolen, don’t take it with you.

How do you know if you are taking too much luggage?

Try to carry ALL of your packed luggage at the same time up a flight of stairs. If you can't do it, then you are taking too much. No one is going to help you carry your luggage around and sometimes you have to carry it on and off subways and trains.  You will definitely have to carry it up flights of stairs, so PACK LIGHT!

NOTE: There are many restrictions on what is allowed in your carry-on luggage, however, the things you put in your carry-on are sometimes essential in case your checked luggage gets delayed and you have to live without it for a few days.  Carry-on bag should include, 1-2 changes of clothes, small toiletries, all medications, electronics, ticket, passport, money, credit/debit cards.  Please check your airline for more information on luggage weight and contents.


Travel Documents

No matter where you're heading, there will be some important documents that you'll want to safeguard. 


Scan a copy of the Bio Page of your passport, email it to yourself, share it with someone you trust, and keep a color copy somewhere easily accessible. If your passport gets lost or stolen, this will help you get a replacement a lot faster. 

Medication Information

Do the same for any important prescriptions, as well as immunization records that are important to your entry into a country.

Debit/Credit Cards

You will also want to make note of the contact information on your bank cards so that you can contact the appropriate place if they are lost or stolen.



Here are some tips about traveling with money:

  1. Do not carry around a lot of cash.  There is a strong opinion that U.S. Americans are wealthy, so pickpocketers will target you for cell phones and cash.
  2. Make sure your belongings are in front of you and zipped closed and that your jacket pockets zip closed. Do not put your phone or wallet in your back pockets.
  3. Take more than one debit/credit card to use abroad in case one of them gets compromised, lost or stolen.  Have a backup way to pay for things.
  4. Contact your debit/credit card companies before you go abroad and notify them of your travel plans otherwise they will block your cards.

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